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The Trouble with the Electric Cars: Price, Service and Replacement Parts

By • Jun 20th, 2009 • Category: Clean Car Talk Daily Snapshots

Electric Car Parking OnlyOne of the biggest impacts that electric cars will have on the economy is the automobile service and parts industries. That’s right. It’s not just the often-heard effects such as lowered emissions and reduced dependency on fossil fuels. And I’m not talking about dealer repairs and parts here. I’m talking the independent service and replacement parts shops.

Operating an electric car means elimination of many conventional automobile components. These include the engine plus everything related to it, the fuel tank, the transmission, etc. In addition electric cars will have electrified systems such as steering, brake, HVAC which will do away with many existing systems and components. Plus, electrical components are expected to be much more reliable than mechanical components, so there will be even less opportunities or needs for service and parts. These factors alone will force a drastic decline in existence of both the service shops and the replacement parts stores.

Eventually electric car mechanic and technician training programs will need to be stepped up, and new programs to certify non-dealer automobile services implemented. For now, in the next 5 years and possibly much longer, your only choices will be the dealer services and parts. Early adopters will be expected to pay a high price to maintain and repair their high-tech electric cars should they need them.

While there will still be older cars operating on the road that can provide continued livelihood for many independent shops, new regulations may come into play to accelerate the demise of the fossil fuel cars. As hybrid and electric cars prove themselves in the marketplace, the free market will take its course. However, federal and state laws may be passed to encourage faster switching to electric cars. These include various incentives, discounts and tax breaks that consumers can take advantage of. It’s been done before and will continue to be a key tool to phase in the new technology.

In the final analysis, electric cars won’t kill the automobile service and parts industries immediately. It will probably take many many years of transition time for all types of vehicles big and small to become electrified. For the smaller consumer cars segment, the switch will probably be sooner than later. For the medium and large trucks segments, it may be a lot longer if at all. Considering all aspects of electric car development and implementation, I don’t think total electrification of consumer cars will occur in my lifetime. Regardless, it’s never too early to start understanding the major impacts on the service and replacement parts industries, two very large segments of our economy.

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is a marketing communications consultant working in the San Diego area. Cuong is dedicated to helping individuals and companies maximize their presence on the Internet and efficiently take products and services to market through SEO and network marketing. Cuong also maintains a blog on Marketing at You can also find Cuong Huynh's profile on LinkedIn. For fun he maintains a blog on Vietnamese pho, soccer and do storyboards for movie and film projects. Follow Cuong on Twitter @CuongHuynh, @LovingPho, @CleanCarTalk, @BlockbusterFilm, @SoccerUSA.
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